Myth or reality: Can high cholesterol cause ED? You’ve more than likely been hearing about the negative health effects of high cholesterol for decades now. Of course, the reason for that is because maintaining blood flow throughout your body is essential, and something that can be heavily influenced by our diet and exercise regimens, as well as stress.
While cholesterol itself is a natural element of our body, and is important for building new tissue and producing sex hormones, an excess amount of it can be harmful—particularly if it is in the form of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL.
Too much LDL build up leads to atherosclerosis, which makes it difficult for blood to pass through our arteries. When it comes to the bedroom, can you guess one reason why proper blood flow might be necessary? That’s right, in addition to everything else, high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction (ED) could be linked.
When one passes to consider the myriad of shared factors between the two, it becomes more clear. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and is often associated with obesity, smoking, and a poor diet. Unsurprisingly, all of these can also result in struggles with ED.
There’s more as well; we know that high cholesterol has a negative influence on our body’s ability to nitric oxide. This is necessary in our bloodstream in order to relax the penile tissues that allow for an erection. The less nitric oxide, the less chance of a nice night with your spouse.
What is the Connection Between High Cholesterol and ED?
While it may seem obvious considering the biological mechanics at work, there are some other medically-backed hints between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction—and how it can be treated.
One of the most common treatments of high cholesterol is the prescription of statins. These slow the production of cholesterol and are particularly effective at reducing LDL. Statins are well-known, with atorvastatin—or Lipitor—being close to a household name.
Recent research has suggested that statins may also be a treatment for ED as well. One medical review found that men who took statins were less likely to experience erectile dysfunction as those who did not. While not effective on their own, this is promising news for those who are affected by both high cholesterol and ED.
Are There Any Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol and Erectile Dysfunction?
For those who are more interested in natural treatments for both high cholesterol and ED, there’s more good news. Some simple lifestyle changes can combat both at the same time. These include:
- Increasing physical activity – a 30-minute daily walk is enough to start making a difference within as little as 90 days.
- Adjusting your diet – cut down on the sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats and turn up the protein and complex carbs.
- Getting better sleep – the amount of sleep you get isn’t quite as important as its quality. This is the time your body needs to recuperate, so aim for a restful eight hours.
- Reviewing the stress in your life – Cortisol, your body’s natural reaction to stress, is a large factor behind not breaking down fats correctly and lowering your libido. Consider breathing exercises or professional therapy.
You may read through that list and realize that the suggestions above are fairly obvious, right? This is even more reason to get started on them today. Plus, each of the above also can help combat low testosterone levels and the most common low testosterone symptoms. However, there are also some additional, more specific tips and tricks that could help decrease high cholesterol and ED.
Lifestyle Changes for High Cholesterol and ED to Support Medical Treatments
The need for physical fitness has already been established, but did you know there was one form of exercise you could do at any time of day, without a gym, and even while sitting down? They also specifically target those blood vessels and muscles responsible for getting and maintaining an erection. They’re called Kegel exercises. These help strengthen your pelvic floor and tighten up your pubococcygeal muscles (PC muscles). 5-20 seconds worth of exercises 10 times a day will get you back on track in no time.
When it comes to what you put into your body to combat erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol, there are also plenty of distinct suggestions, including a diet consisting of foods that help to sustain stronger erections including:
- Fish, shrimp, and oysters
- Apples, grapes, and strawberries
- Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and onions
- Whole grains
- Legumes, almonds, and walnuts
You may also want to speak to your doctor about how a vitamin B-12 deficiency could lead to ED, or a prescription for nicotinic acid; one of the components of vitamin B-3.
Medical Treatments Can Help You Beat Erectile Dysfunction Caused By High Cholesterol
More research is still necessary to determine the ultimate cause between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction—if there is one. However, there’s no need to wait for the final verdict if you’re experiencing the effects of either. Many of the medications and lifestyle changes necessary to combat one appear to have the happy consequence of contributing toward overcoming the other.
Optimizing your wellbeing outside of the bedroom has long been an accepted requirement for maximizing your enjoyment within it. If you’re ready to rekindle your lust for and ability to enjoy those more intimate moments with your partner, contact the medical professionals at Proactive Men’s Medical Center in Ohio to schedule an appointment. Our clinic specializes in treating conditions that impact men’s health, such as ED, low testosterone, and other sexual health problems.